Back in May 2017, a former TSMC engineer was accused of stealing trade secrets relating to the company's 28nm process technology. Now, a similar situation has come to light this year, with another former TSMC employee charged with stealing trade secrets and attempting to take them to a new job in China.
In the 2017 case, a former engineer is said to have been caught selling confidential 28nm process information to the Shanghai Huali Microelectronics Company (HLMC), one of TSMC's Chinese competitors. This year, a former TSMC deputy manager of technology is accused of doing the same thing, although this time, the culprit was attempting to sell 16nm and 10nm process technology.
As reported by DigiTimes, ‘Chou' previously acted as a deputy manager at TSMC before resigning to take on a new role at the Shanghai Huali Microelectronics Company. As it stands, Chou is accused of copying confidential documents relating to TSMC's 16nm and 10nm node processes and its manufacturing facilities.
According to the Prosecutor's office, Chou attempted to take these files to his new job at HLMC. With that said, the investigation is still on-going and as a result, no further information can be released at this time.
KitGuru Says: It looks like Taiwanese fabs are facing some competition from China, with HLMC being a name that is consistently popping up in these cases.